Guns Defend Good People From Bad People
One tragic massacre does not warrant the disarmament of all law-abiding citizens
July 26, 2012
Evil is a part of life, and this has been true since the dawn of our civilization.
Evil recently appeared in a dark theater in Aurora, Colo. As we know, a disturbed man hurt and massacred dozens.
And it is a natural human emotion to think of ways to stop it from happening again. This is now causing some people to push for the disarmament of all, regardless of who they are, and regardless of whether they are dangerous to other people.
But there are other evils in this world. Our civil right to armed self defense has a storied history of protecting us from many of those evils:
- This right protected the abolitionists who took the message that slavery was evil directly into the slave states.
- After the civil war, the right to bear arms was used to protect freedmen from the brutal violence of the Ku Klux Klan.
- Arms continued to protect civil rights workers even through the 1960s as the twin specters of racism and the Klan itself, had permeated local law enforcement.
- Today, the right to armed self defense protects the LGBT community from the twin evils of ignorance and hate.
- The right to self defense also protects mothers and daughters from rapists, merchants from robbers, and families from home invaders.
The U.S. Department of Justice reports that guns are used 1,500,000 times a year to successfully defend good people from bad people—almost always without the firing of a single shot. The Colorado massacre is disturbing, but it must be seen in this context.
Like all civil rights, our right to self defense is dangerous and can be abused—ask a mourning soldier's parents about the abuse of the freedom of speech they experience at the hands of the Westboro Baptist Church.
But we as a country placed our civil rights, and their risks, into our Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment for a single reason: There are much worse evils than a single tragic event.
The laws we have today already bar those people who have been shown to be violent, or a risk to self or others, from buying or even possessing guns. But laws can't predict who will become violent or insane, nor can laws prevent criminals from doing violence. We must tread lightly and acknowledge the beneficial side of the civil right to armed self defense.
The insane actions of one person should not be cause to infringe the civil rights of millions of law-abiding citizens.